Truckee & North Lake Tahoe's Independent Newspaper | Tahoe News | Tahoe Music | Tahoe Events

High Water, High Risk

Reminders for staying safe on Lake Tahoe this summer
Reads 1070 Comments 0 Printer-friendly versionprint Send by emailemail


Tahoe’s high water levels have raised concerns about the potentially destructive effects of both natural and man-made (boat wakes) waves upon other vessels, structures, and shorelines. Tahoe City resident and former oceanographer Roger Huff explains that one gallon of fresh water weighs a little over eight pounds, and a few hours of wind can create deep-water waves each containing hundreds of gallons of dangerous and powerful water.

After a long winter season, seemingly skipping spring, summer in Tahoe has arrived and is welcomed with an overflowing Lake Tahoe. As the attention shifts to the lake it is encouraged for boaters to be respectful of the local boating ordinances during this summer’s high-water season. These include the noise and the 600-foot “no wake” zone regulations.

“Dangerous waves can also be produced by boaters who ballast down [weigh down] the sterns of their wake makers and tow their water toys near smaller vessels, buoy fields, marinas, or piers,” Huff said in an email to Moonshine Ink. “That two-foot-high wake can double in height in shallow water, and its energy increase four-fold.”

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency has set a 600-foot “no wake” zone around the entire shoreline of Lake Tahoe with a speed limit of 5 miles per hour. This is set in place to minimize the impacts of motorized boats for residents, visitors, and wildlife. The 600-foot buffer is also set to protect those who choose to recreate without motors, (paddleboarders, kayakers, and swimmers). Boaters should also be mindful of the areas marked by white buoys. These are areas that indicate underwater obstructions.

According to the TRPA, it is also required that boaters are equipped with the proper safety equipment including: life jackets, fire extinguishers, a whistle, a bell or horn, a visual distress signal or flare, a ventilation duct allowing for proper ventilation of inboard gasoline engines, and a backfire flame arrestor for inboard engines.

“Operators may be legally responsible for damages caused by their wakes,” Huff said “Boaters who feel they are exempt from such things should also bear in mind that they are not invisible.”

Be careful out there!

By creating and using an account on Moonshine Ink, you are agreeing to our user terms and submissions policy. Read the complete terms and policy.

Don't Miss the Next Edition

Edition First-Round Deadline Drop-Dead Deadline
April 12 to May 9 March 23 March 30
May 10 to June 13 April 20 April 27

About News

Moonshine Ink brings you Tahoe news straight from the source. Our team of hardworking journalists uncovers North Tahoe and Truckee news stories with in-depth reporting and our authentic “for the community, by the community” spirit.

In our News section you’ll find the facts on everything from politics to the environment to local business. We’re your Tahoe newspaper, delivering stories you can trust.

Subscribe to the feed

Latest Tweets @moonshineink

  • In preparation for tonight's Democratic debate, we spoke with each candidate, asking them two questions: What solut… 1 month 2 days ago
  • Raley's grocery store development permit approved by the Town of Truckee Planning Commission this week. Info: 1 month 1 week ago
  • Placer County voted Jan. 10 to support a grant application to help fund the 56-unit Schaffer’s Mill workforce housi… 1 month 1 week ago

Look for the latest Moonshine Ink issue on newsstands now.

Look for the latest issue in newsstands now.

Or subscribe and enjoy it hot off the press in your mailbox.

February 8, 2018